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Wilderness EMT

Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians respond to injuries and illnesses in the backcountry/remote access places and offer pre-hospital care and emergency transport.

A group of wilderness first responders prepare to evacuate a injured hiker

EMT work is physically and emotionally demanding, considering one is dealing with time dependent life or death situations. EMTs have to be ready at any time, and Wilderness EMTs have the added challenge of not being able to take an ambulance to a person’s front door. They must be able to make extraction plans for people in remote areas and keep them stable until hospital availability is confirmed.

Wilderness EMTs have to be physically fit in order to reach and transport patients, have strong problem solving skills and strong listening and communication skills. EMTs are passionate about showing up for and supporting people when they are at their most vulnerable.

To become a basic EMT requires a high school diploma and completion of a 200 hour program, such as that offered by NOLS. From there is the option of becoming certified as an advanced EMT and then as a paramedic. Licensing requirements vary by state. Other certifications will be job specific such as helicopter pilot certification or wildfire certifications. When getting a wilderness EMT certification, one can also work as a traditional EMT.

The median wage for a EMT is $38,650. Employees in this field are highly sought after due to a growing population that generates a greater need for EMTs as well workers to replace others that leave due to the high stress of the job as well as individuals seeking opportunities in other fields of healthcare.